Before Scream ushered in a wave of slashers in the late 90s, there was one last, great monster film that would rule the box office for a few weeks, and be considered a modest success with $15 million gross. That little film that could was Wishmaster, taking on the legends of the djinn and turning it something that Aladdin would have run screaming from. Spawning three other films after the initial’s release, the franchise went back into the lamp in 2002 and has been waiting ever since. That is, of course, until now.
The recently released Wishmaster Collection has all four films together on blu-ray from Vestron Video, and let me tell you, it’s an interesting thing to re-live. Vestron really did a top-notch job of giving these films a High Definition transfer, and seemed to have gone out of their way to give fans the box set that never knew they wanted but absolutely need to own.
I remember seeing the original film in theaters, and finding it to be an odd beast. It was typical for a 90s film; OK acting, OK plot, all on an OK budget. But my GOD, did the effects look amazing! And that monster! Andrew Divoff basically chews the scenery every time he is on screen, and completely owns the djinn character. He is incredible, and really, doesn’t get enough credit for carrying the entire film. He MADE Wishmaster what it was.
The film looks wonderful. Sure, some of the early CGI stuff will still be wonky, but that was the time period. But the practical stuff? Top notch. On top of that, the original film’s disc is FILLED with fantastic extras, with two commentary tracks, six featurettes, trailers, and more. But really, how can you go wrong with a film that also starts horror icons Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, Ted Raimi, Ricco Ross, George “Buck” Flower, Reggie Bannister, and Joseph Pilato. This disc alone makes the set worth it.
The second film, Wishmaster: Evil Never Dies, is not as strong as the first, but is still well worth it for Divoff’s performance alone. As far as straight to video sequels go, it’s one of the best. This film was made on less of a budget than the former, but it still holds up pretty well. The effects were done by future Sharknado filmmaker Anthony Ferrante, so it’s cool to see him cut his teeth here. However, the commentary track is the sole extra, making me want a liiiiittle bit more.
The third disc contains before Beyond the Gates of Hell and The Prophecy Fulfilled, in addition to a TON of special features. While Divoff is absent for this disc, they are still fun movies in their own right. The Prophecy Fulfilled alone is so bat shit crazy that it has to be seen to be believed. How could you go wrong?
Really, if you’re a fan of the Wishmaster films, any of them, this is WELL worth picking up. They look gorgeous, they sound gorgeous, and it’s been a real trip to watch them all over again.